Student starts first undergraduate Catholic Medical Association chapter at U. of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota

Student starts first undergraduate Catholic Medical Association chapter [at U. of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota]


[Not the ObamaCare-advocating (now defending it), institution-oriented “Catholic” Health Association (with its million-dollar salaried Sister-President) but the Catholic Medical Association – “a national, physician-led community of healthcare professionals that informs, organizes, and inspires its members, in steadfast fidelity to the teachings of the Catholic Church, to uphold the principles of the Catholic faith in the science and practice of medicine”]


The first undergraduate chapter of the Catholic Medical Association begins at St. Thomas. The CMA is a national association that promotes the incorporation of Catholic beliefs into science and medicine.

Junior Anne LoCoco is starting the country’s first undergraduate chapter of the Catholic Medical Association at St. Thomas.

The club, which is commonly found at the graduate and professional level, allows students to discuss health care ethics in a Catholic context.

“I wanted to find something that combined my passions of health care and Catholicism,” LoCoco said. “Then I found the Catholic Medical Association.”

CMA is the largest association of Catholic physicians and healthcare professionals in the nation. It consists of chapters for active professionals and medical school students, but LoCoco said that the conversation about converging Catholic beliefs and medicine needed to be started earlier.

“We’re still all learning,” LoCoco said. “We can have an open discussion… and see how we want to be in the medical world.”

Last spring, LoCoco emailed the CMA board requesting to create an undergraduate chapter. It responded soon after and expressed interest, saying that the St. Thomas chapter could create a model for future undergraduate chapters to come. By the end of the summer, the process officially began.

LoCoco said that about 100 people had signed up for the email list by their informational meeting in late September. The meeting had about 40 people in attendance.

According to LoCoco, the club will host meetings twice a month. Through a partnership with the Twin Cities chapter – St. Paul and Minneapolis Catholic Physicians Guild – one meeting will feature speakers from the Guild to discuss their careers and how to uphold Catholic beliefs in medicine. The other will center around prayer and worship, which LoCoco said was important in creating a faith community on campus. The two groups will also collaborate on service projects in their field.

The Veritas Institute also reached out to LoCoco to partner with the chapter, with the intention of creating networking opportunities. Located on St. Thomas’ Minneapolis campus, the institute is used as an initiative to form ethical and effective leaders.

“We have an opportunity here to create a forum where we can do a better job and a more systematic job of connecting people who are working in Catholic health care … with these students,” said Dean Maines, the president of the Veritas Institute.

LoCoco also would like to see the discussion of possible major or minor concentrations on Catholic health care, now that the interest has been proven.

She also said that the chapter will allow for the open discussion of Catholic health care processes among students. The discussions won’t be limited to only the rejection of abortion and euthanasia.

According to Maines, Catholic health care also includes understanding the human person as more than just a body to treat. The patient has a mind and soul to include in the treatment process as well. It’s also common to emphasise the spiritual care to patients – regardless of their religious convictions.

“I want it to be a good example for undergraduate students that you can still be a (great) doctor but still uphold your morality and Catholic social teachings,” LoCoco said.

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